How to Help the Youth Become Involved in Their Communities
Majority of parents can’t even convince their kids to tidy up their bedrooms, so it’s impossible to encourage teenagers to dump their computers and work on an “impossible” endeavor, right? Wrong. There are techniques to persuade them to move out of their self zones and grow concern for the world around them.
As a parent, the following steps can aid you molding your teens into responsible as well as community-loving adults someday:
1. Give them autonomy.
How would you feel if someone would always be breathing down your neck each time you move? That’s just how it feels for majority of teenagers. Adults usually get rather defensive when this point is mentioned, saying their kids must first act more responsibly before they will be given autonomy. Truth is, it’s the opposite that is actually true: how can they act more responsibly if they are not given the chance? If anything, psychological inquiries have revealed that when you place more trust in someone, he is more likely to do as you would like him to.
2. Show real empathy.
Empathy is so much more than simply putting yourself in the other person’s shoes or being a very comforting listener. It’s actually feeling what other is feeling. If your kid’s pet dog died, for example, empathizing is not saying, “I know how it feels.” Empathy is grieving with him. If your teen is scared of looking “uncool” when volunteering, it shouldn’t be simply accepted as “teens being teens.” Empathy takes decisive action: how can you make volunteering cool?
3. Set a positive example.
While children have never been great at listening to their parents and elders, but they have always unconsciously mimicked them. And there’s a biological logic behind that. Ever heard of mirror neurons and how they affect group behavior? Here’s the bottom line: don’t expect your children to do what you yourself couldn’t.
4. Appreciate their contributions.
Feeling like you don’t see them is a sure way to kill their motivation. After all, why do you have to contribute when you don’t feel like it will change something? That’s why you really have to communicate to them how their work is making a difference. And you need to say it to them individually, not as a group.
5. Offer them a meaningful purpose.
Why do these young people need to do all of these? Is it to make their parents happy or proud? Is it to have an excuse to spend time with someone they like? To increase their grades? These are all poor motivation. Try explaining to them how the youth’s service can contribute to the overall good of your community, and what the possibilities are if they don’t show up. This is more effective because a purpose in life is one of the most key factors that lead to psychological and even physical health. Proof is retiree volunteers living longer lives and being less likely to suffer depression compared to others who’d rather stay at home.